CG-1 Survey of Condensation Heat Transfer and Condenser Design

K. J. Bell and J. Taborek

At the start of a major new research program, it has been found desirable to issue one or more reports critically evaluating the current state of knowledge in that field. This report surveys the entire subject of condensation heat transfer in an essentially qualitative fashion.

It defines and evaluates the different modes of condensation, the effects of various geometries of condensing surface, the mechanisms by which the liquid is removed from the condensing surface, and the problems introduced when multicomponent mixtures or vapors containing noncondensable gases are condensed. Prediction of the condensing heat transfer coefficient is the primary matter discussed, but the problems of determining the effective mean temperature difference and calculating pressure drop during condensation are considered. Subsequent reports will examine the problems in condensation for specific conditions in a detailed and quantitative way.

HTRI's ultimate concern in studying condensation is to provide the necessary procedures for equipment design. This includes not only the condensing correlations themselves, but a mechanistic analysis of all the processes occurring in the equipment.

As in previous research efforts, we will be concerned to start with the fundamental studies and data already in the literature, testing and modifying this information as is deemed appropriate for our immediate needs. The conclusions based on the literature will be augmented and modified as HTRI's own laboratory and analytical studies become available. The design methods will in the end be tested on commercial-scale equipment.